Lecture Series: Lessons From the Past, Looking Toward the Future in Collaboration with UTEP

Lecture Series: Lessons From the Past, Looking Toward the Future in Collaboration with UTEP

This speaker series seeks to bring history and the present into direct communication and in a broadly attractive public forum that will facilitate dialogue with the El Paso community.  The series will demonstrate how we can better understand contemporary social issues, public policy concerns, economic challenges, and cultural trends if we view them from a historical perspective.  By “learning from the lessons of the past,” we can better prepare for the pressing issue of the present and the future.

September 30, 2017. 2 p.m.
Whither the Border Environment: From NEPA to NAFTA and Beyond
This presentation will focus on the evolution of environmental policy making along the U.S.-Mexico border region, from the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, to contemporary conversations about climate change, access to clean air and water, and population growth.  Despite the fact that the two countries signed the La Paz Agreement in 1983 in order to promote environmental cooperation, and the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation in 1993 and created the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission, the North American Development Bank and the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, one must ask, how have these institutions and treaties helped to improve the quality of the environment in the region.  If we consider trends in environmental policy over four decades, what do we envision for the future of the binational community?    

Irasema Coronado is a professor in the Department of Political Science, and a contributing faculty member of the Environmental Science and Engineering Ph.D. program.   She served as the executive director of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) of North America, 2012-2016.  The CEC facilitates collaboration and public participation to foster conservation, protection and enhancement of the North American environment for the benefit of present and future generations, in the context of increasing economic, trade, and social links among Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Hispanic Business Magazine named her one of the Top 100 Influential Hispanics in the United States in October of 2010.  

October 26, 2017. 6 p.m.
Learning from the Past:  Women Resisting Slavery before the Civil War
While northern states ended slavery within their own borders in the early 1800s, the federal government and southern states passed laws to entrench the practice. Northern Black and White women, largely excluded from the political process at that time, resisted cultural constraints and worked to bring an end to slavery throughout the United States.  From Antislavery Fairs and petitions to the Underground Railroad, women played a critical role in the Abolition movement. The strategies embraced by these women have been used over time to inspire resistance and change.  

Susan Stanfield is an assistant professor of history at the University of Texas at El Paso. She teaches courses that focus on 19th Century U.S. History including the Civil War and Reconstruction.  She is currently completing a book, Domestic Texts and Contexts:  Black and White Women and Civic Identity in Antebellum America.

November 9, 2017. 6 p.m.
Immigration is Always Changing: Past and Present of Immigration to the United States, 1965-2017
Public debates about immigration assume a simple, unchanging picture of cross-border migration from Mexico.  In fact, migration to the United States is constantly changing, even to the present day.  This talk goes over important changes in simple terms with clear graphics.  Examples include shifts from Latin American to Asian migration, decreases in border migration and increases in migration with visas, changes from Mexican to Central American migration at the border, and so forth. Many surprising facts will be discussed.
Josiah Heyman is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Interamerican and Border Studies at the University of Texas at El Paso.  He has studied the U.S.-Mexico border since 1982, with a special focus on border migration.  He is author or editor of four books and over 120 journal articles and book chapters.  His most recent book, co-edited, is The U.S.-Mexico Transborder Region: Cultural Dynamics and Historical Interactions, University of Arizona Press, 2017.

November 16, 2017. 6 p.m.
Indian Wars for the 21st Century: The Past, Present and Future of Native Peoples in the U.S.
There are hundreds of Indian Nations in the U.S., with a combined population of several million, retaining more than 40 million acres of reservation land, and overseeing billions of dollars in revenue.  Many Indian nations hold treaties with the federal government, and most are major players in the economies of many states.  However, Americans know little about their history and even less about the realities they face in the United States today. This lecture will focus on the broad historical contours of the Apache, Tohono O’odham, and Tigua to shed light on contemporary Indian Affairs.  In doing so it will help us wrestle with the future of Native People in a rapidly changing political, economic, and social climate.    
Jeffrey P. Shepherd received his PhD from Arizona State University and joined the Department of History at UTEP in 2002.  He is the author of We Are an Indian Nation: A History of the Hualapai People, and he is presently researching the history of the Apache in the U.S. – Mexico Borderlands.  He has worked with the National Park Service and is completing a history of the Guadalupe Mountains National Park.  He also serves as the Director of the PhD Program in History at UTEP, where he teaches courses on Native People, the U.S. – Mexico Borderlands, the U.S. West, and Public History.

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